Politics & Polls #157: How Economists Attained Power in the Modern Era Featuring Binyamin Appelbaum
Economists shape conversations on topics ranging from business to politics, and their influence is widely felt; the Federal Reserve, trade negotiations, and public spending have become central focuses of political debate. But economists weren’t always permanent fixtures in policymaking.
Binyamin Appelbaum joins Sam Wang and Julian Zelizer to discuss the rise of economists between the 1960s and 2000 — the focus of his new book, “The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society. His book explores the role of economists in shaping public policy on issues like the draft, income inequality and distribution, and minimum wage.
Appelbaum is The New York Times Editorial Board’s lead writer on business and economics. Prior to joining the Board this year, he was a Washington correspondent for the Times, covering the Federal Reserve and other aspects of economic policy from 2001 to 2009. Appelbaum previously worked for the Charlotte Observer, where his reporting on subprime lending won a George Polk Award and a Gerald Loeb Award. He also was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.
ABOUT THE HOSTS
Wang is a professor at Princeton University, appointed in neuroscience with affiliate appointments in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Center for Information Technology Policy. An alumnus of Caltech, where he received a B.S. with honors in physics, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center and at Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. He has also worked on science and education policy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He is noted for his application of data analytics and poll aggregation to American politics. He is leading an effort at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to build a 50-state data resource for legislative-quality citizen redistricting. His work to define a state-level legal theory to limit partisan gerrymandering recently won Common Cause’s Gerrymandering Standard Writing Contest. His neuroscience research concerns how the brain learns from sensory experience in early life, adulthood and autism.
Zelizer has been among the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN political analyst. He has written more than 900 op-eds, including his popular weekly column for CNN.com and The Atlantic. This year, he is the distinguished senior fellow at the New York Historical Society, where he is writing a biography of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel for Yale University's Jewish Lives Series. He is the author and editor of more than 19 books including, “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society,” the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. In January 2019, Norton published his new book, co-authored with Kevin Kruse, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.” In spring 2020, Penguin Press will publish his other book, “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.” He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation and New America.